There is such turmoil with the farm bill in the Senate — will it pass or will the old programs just be extended? — that we’ve all forgotten that the rural development portion of the act needs fixing. Jason Gray, with the Southern Rural Development Initiative reminds us that rural development money from the feds still largely goes to those who don’t need it.
Poor counties receive $1 in development funding for every $15 or $20 that goes for direct crop subsidies. Gray’s work with SRDI parallels reports in the Washington Post earlier this year. The Post reported that the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (above) received $3 million in grants and loans under the farm bill even though it is a metropolitan area. Martha’s Vineyard got even more funding.
Meanwhile, here are perspectives on the stalled farm bill from Minnesota and Mississippi.